The Protection of children from sexual offences Act intends to protect children from sexual offences.
The POCSO Act was implemented to protect children from sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography and to establish Special Courts for prosecuting such crimes, connected concerns, and situations.
The Act was amended in 2019 to include provisions for increased penalties for certain offences to increase terror in the minds of abusers and guarantee that children have a safe, secure, and dignified upbringing.
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What is the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act?
The Act is a comprehensive law that protects children’s interests by including child-friendly systems for reporting, recording evidence, investigating, and fast adjudication of offences in designated Special Courts.
Salient Features of the POCSO Act
- The Act is gender-neutral and prioritises the child’s best interests at all stages to guarantee that the child’s physical, emotional, intellectual, and social development are all healthy.
- Anyone under the age of 18 is a kid under the Act. It prioritises the child’s best interests and well-being to ensure the child’s healthy physical, emotional, cognitive, and social development.
- It differentiates between many sorts of sexual abuse, such as penetrative and non-penetrative assault, sexual harassment, and pornography.
- The Act’s abetment provisions apply to individuals who traffic children for sexual purposes. The Act imposes heavy penalties that are graded based on the seriousness of the offence, with a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
POCSO Act Punishments after the Act
Several POCSO Act punishments include a possible sentence of life in jail and a monetary fine. Let’s take a look at the punishments:
Section 3: Penetrative Sexual Assault:
It punishes the person with a minimum of ten years in jail, with the possibility of life imprisonment. Penetrative attack on a child under the age of 16 is punishable by a minimum sentence of 20 years imprisonment with the possibility of life imprisonment.
Penetrative Sexual Assault with Aggravation (Section 5)
It has a minimum sentence of ten years in jail, with the possibility of life imprisonment and a fine.
Assault on a woman (Section 7)
It has a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine.
Sexual Assault with a Higher Level of Intensity (Section 9)
It has a minimum sentence of 5 years in prison, a maximum of 7 years in prison, and a fine.
Section 11: Sexual Harassment of Children
Nearly three years in prison and a hefty fine.
The use of a child for pornographic purposes (Section 14)
Five years in prison and a fine are the penalties for such an offence. If convicted again, the penalty increases to more than seven years in prison and a fine.
Other penalties for child pornography include:
To share or transmit child pornography, a person who retains or possesses pornographic material in any form involving a child but does not remove, destroy, or report it to the appropriate authority: In such event, a POCSO Act punishment of not less than Rs. 5,000 is imposed, and a fine of not less than Rs. 10,000 is imposed for the subsequent offence.
A case governed under the Act
A 12-year-old boy from Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, has been charged with impregnating a 17-year-old girl under the POCSO Act. Her parents took her to the Raja Mirasudar Government Hospital when she complained of stomach trouble.
The girl was nine months pregnant when she was admitted to the hospital. On the same day, she gave birth to a baby girl. The hospital alerted the all-women police station in Thanjavur, and a 12-year-old boy was found to be responsible for her plight.
The boy was subsequently arrested for violating two provisions of the POCSO law. The youngster has also been committed to a juvenile detention centre.
Meanwhile, authorities looked into if anyone else was involved in the girl’s pregnancy and how the family and the girl handled the situation while unaware of the pregnancy.
With the amendment of the POCSO Act in 2019, the number of cases of child sexual assault that indicate the abusers’ inhumane mindset will undoubtedly decrease. It would undoubtedly instil terror in cruel people who relish the opportunity to exploit youngsters while they are at their tender age.